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Anrich Nortje is last man to leave as South Africa endure the party that wasn’t

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It sounded like a party. The Unity Stand was drowned in song that the so-called traditional watchers of the game in this country would not have recognised. The Gwijo Squad – a supporters’ club formed in 2017 who sing Zulu and Xhosa songs – made their first appearance in this series and immediately changed its tone.

It didn’t matter that South Africa were conceding the highest 10th-wicket partnership at the Wanderers and allowed England to finish on 400 or that the hosts were 60 for 4 in reply. In fact, it fuelled them. The worse South Africa’s situation got, the louder the Gwijo squad’s messages of hope rang out and the more they intended to inspire. They reserved the loudest for Temba Bavuma, son of this stadium and the only black African player in the XI.

“uTemba lo!
Abamaziyo!
Abazange bambona!!
Abazange bambona!!”

Loosely translated (credit to Makhaya Ntini) those lyrics mean: “That’s Temba, and if you didn’t know it before, you will see him now.”

When Bavuma drove the first delivery he faced through the covers, teasingly close to the boundary, they erupted into a cheer that belied the seriousness of the situation South Africa, and Bavuma, were in. They’re both chasing the game and they both have massive points to prove.

South Africa’s chances of winning the match look increasingly thin, especially as the follow-on target is still 113 runs away. Defeat will mean a third consecutive series loss and may spell the end for captain Faf du Plessis. It was his dismissal – an unlucky one given that he was hit above the knee roll on a pitch renowned for its bounce, but the on-field decision was upheld on umpire’s call – that brought Bavuma to the crease, with a grossly unfair burden.

South Africans expect Bavuma to perform, especially after the fracas over him being left out of the second and third Tests, despite having recovered from a hip injury and with his career-best 180 still to come. “In Temba we Trust,” read one banner. But their faith was only repaid for 38 minutes, before Bavuma was caught, low in the slips, by none other than South Africa’s arch-nemesis, Ben Stokes.

Only then, did South Africa’s real hero (if anyone in their XI can be given such a lofty title) emerge. Anrich Nortje, whose nightwatchman’s vigils in the first and third Tests earned him the respect his top-order should command, walked out to a hopeless situation.

Having dragged South Africa to the edges of an advantage earlier in the day, with his maiden Test-five-for, he was now expected to drag them away from the point of no return. Late in the day. With not so much as an acknowledgement that he was there. Unless you count the lady draped in a South African flag who managed to invade the playing area and make some solid ground towards the crease before security officials caught up with her.

In muffled tones, the Gwijo squad continued to sing while the Barmy Army overpowered them with their version of Living on a Prayer (We’re halfway there, five wickets down and all that). It was hardly the reception that Nortje deserved.

His efforts in the morning saved South Africa’s blushes after they had looked likely to endure a fourth successive opening session without claiming a wicket. Nortje changed that, during the course of an eight-over spell which injected energy into a limp attack and showed the advantage of proper pace on this pitch. Nortje kept the speedgun north of 145kph on almost every ball and the last delivery of the 48 he bowled in the morning clocked in at 148kph, more than an hour he sent down his first. If you want evidence of commitment and consistency, that’s it.

Like most of the attack, Nortje erred with his lengths and was often bowling too short, but unlike them, he produced several threatening deliveries that targeted the body and teased the outside edge. With the old ball, he got Ollie Pope playing on, then Joe Root and Sam Curran in successive deliveries to put South Africa in a position from which they could limit England to something close to the average first-innings score at the Wanderers: 319. Nortje’s 3 for 40 could have changed the game, and his new-ball strike to remove Chris Woakes should have meant the England innings was almost at an end.

Instead, it went on for another 8.2 overs as questions over du Plessis’ captaincy mounted. Why were the bowlers persisting with short and wide lengths and lines? Why were there eight fielders on the boundary? Why was Dwaine Pretorius unused in that period? “I really don’t have any answers for you,” a sheepish Nortje said afterwards.

ALSO READ: Wood shines with bat and ball to push SA to the brink

No-one could have expected him to. Although Nortje has leapfrogged Kagiso Rabada to the top of the series wicket-takers’ list, with 16 at 26.68, and in this match, he replaced Rabada as the leader of the attack, he is not the person who should be held to account. Nonetheless, he was the designed representative to address the media, after he was dismissed by the last ball of play. Again, it was not the audience Nortje would have wanted but, as he has already discovered, “you can’t choose”.

Those words came in reference to his first five-for being eclipsed by the batting fragility when he would have preferred it to have been taken in a dominant situation, but there are other things Nortje could not choose in this Test. He could not pick his bowling partners, and even though he refused to lay the blame on any of them (“It’s a collective unit. It’s not one or two of us.”) it is obvious that Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks would not be first-choice if Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were fit. He could not choose the fielding strategy, which seemed misguided, and he could not choose how early he was needed with the bat. Most of all he could not choose where the attention will focus today, and it’s not on him.

Maybe for tonight, it’s not even on South Africa’s problems. Minutes after Nortje was dismissed, the Wanderers crowd began making their way to their Saturday nights and the Gwijo squad assembled for one last song and dance which they kept going all the way to the main gate. It sounded like a party. But the scorecard will tell that it really was not.



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Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser headline Queensland’s Sheffield Shield squad

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Queensland could field a top order with 17 Test centuries under their belt after naming a 15-man squad for the Adelaide Sheffield Shield hub during October and November.

Incumbent Test opener Joe Burns will be joined by Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja in the likely top four with Matt Renshaw a chance to bat at No. 5. Bryce Street, who enjoyed a breakout first season with 489 runs at 37.61, is expected to open with Burns.

Consistent top-order runs has been a challenge for Queensland in recent seasons. In the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield there was just one individual century although that improved to four last season – two of them from Street. Part of that may be attributable to conditions at the Gabba which can often aid pace bowling, something which won’t be a factor in the first part of this season.

Pace bowler Michael Neser, who has recovered from a groin injury, and legspinner Mitchell Swepson will both be in the mix to join Australia’s Test squad for the India series which will need to be larger than usual to cover for travel restrictions.

Benji Floros, a Queensland contracted player for the first time this season, and left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann are the two uncapped players in the squad – the first to be confirmed ahead of the start of the competition.

The squad will begin a self-quarantine period on Monday and travel to Adelaide later in the week. Queensland’s opening game is against Tasmania at Park 25 on October 10.

Queensland squad Usman Khawaja (capt), Xavier Bartlett, Joe Burns, Blake Edwards, Benji Floros, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Lachy Pfeffer, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth.



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Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad live streaming where to watch DC vs SRH IPL 2020 7.30pm Sep 29

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Two games into the season, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are still trying to resolve their middle-order batting issues from last season, and searching for their first points. It doesn’t help that their opponents on Tuesday are the Delhi Capitals, who have one of the most balanced bowling attacks in the tournament. Despite two premier bowlers – Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin – being unavailable, the Capitals strangled the Chennai Super Kings on Friday to register their second win in as many matches. The Sunrisers, on the other hand, are yet to figure out their best XI. With David Warner and Jonny Bairstow opening the innings and Manish Pandey coming in at No. 3, Priyam Garg is forced to bat out of position. Expect them to field a different starting XI to the one that played on Saturday.

Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad is available to view in India on Disney+ Hotstar, Jio TV and Airtel TV.

When does the DC vs SRH live streaming start?
The DC vs SRH live streaming will start at 7:00 PM India Time September 29, 2020.

Where is the DC vs SRH match being played?
The DC vs SRH match will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

On which TV channels will DC vs SRH live coverage be available?
In India, Star Sports 1 and 1HD, Star Sports Select 1 and 1HD and SS1 Hindi and 1 Hindi HD will telecast the match live.

Where can one find DC vs SRH live score and commentary online?
The fastest and most comprehensive live score and details will be available here: DC vs SRH live score.

What are the likely playing XIs for today’s DC vs SRH game?

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Avesh Khan

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Vijay Shankar/Wriddhiman Saha, 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Abdul Samad, 7 Abhishek Sharma, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Khaleel Ahmed/T Natarajan

Who are the captains for today’s DC vs SRH game?
The captains for today’s game will be Shreyas Iyer (DC) and David Warner (SRH).

Who are the umpires for DC vs SRH game?
The on-field umpires for today’s game will be Virender Sharma and S Ravi. The third umpire will be Chris Gaffaney.

Who will be the match referee for DC vs SRH game?
The match referee for today’s game will be Manu Nayyar.

All telecast and streaming timings are according to information received from the host broadcaster.



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Dane Vilas, Cameron Delport face tricky times as UK’s transition period with EU nears conclusion

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South African Dane Vilas and Cameron Delport‘s hopes of continuing to play in county cricket as local players courtesy their ancestry visas have been dealt a terminal blow, after the ECB confirmed that they would not be exempted from the cancellation of Kolpak registrations when the UK’s transition period with the European Union (EU) ends on December 31, 2020.

Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of first-class cricket operations, sent a letter to the counties, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and the relevant boards last week, setting out the changes that would be made to eligibility registrations following the end of the transition period. That included the long-anticipated cancellation of Kolpak registrations and confirmation that EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK would continue to qualify as local players.

After lobbying from the PCA, the ECB had confirmed this July that counties would be able to field two overseas players rather than one in both the County Championship and the One-Day Cup in order to protect the jobs of players on Kolpak deals.

ALSO READ: ECB clarifies player retention plans for postponed Hundred

Both Vilas and Delport had appealed to the ECB in the hope that their ancestry visas would mean they remained eligible to play as non-overseas players for Lancashire and Essex respectively, and both remained optimistic when contacted by ESPNcricinfo last week.

But Fordham’s letter, published on the ECB’s website, affirmed that the cancellation of Kolpak registrations would “apply regardless of whether such player currently holds, or is able to obtain, an ancestral or family visa giving them the right to work in the UK”.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the changes have been approved by the ECB board and are not pending appeals. It is unclear, however, whether the ruling will face any legal challenge from players affected at this stage.

“Confirmation that EU nationals would only be eligible if they have settled or pre-settled status came as a blow to Dutch cricket as well, seemingly ending the pathway for young players to gain experience at the county level – much like the now first-class-veteran Ryan ten Doeschate – unless they move to the UK on a permanent basis”

Vilas, 35, is expected to stay at Lancashire next season despite the ruling. Since signing for the club in 2017, he has settled in London with his wife Pippa, whose ancestral visa means that he has – and would continue to have – the right to live and work in the UK. Lancashire have previously given him guarantees that he would stay on as an overseas player. That said, he is unlikely to retain his top-bracket contract in the Hundred with the Manchester Originals, competing for one of three overseas spots rather than being one of the better local players available.

For Delport, meanwhile, the ruling could be the first step on his return to the international fold. He has previously held conversations with South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith and head coach Mark Boucher about the possibility of playing for his native country in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and publicly revealed his intentions to represent them while speaking to ESPNcricinfo last month.

In practice, many players on Kolpak registrations – including Simon Harmer, Duanne Olivier and Stiaan van Zyl – will become their respective counties’ overseas player next year, while a handful – like Fidel Edwards and David Wiese – are expected to be released at the end of the season.

Confirmation that EU nationals would only be eligible if they have settled or pre-settled status came as a blow to Dutch cricket as well, seemingly ending the pathway for young players to gain experience at the county level – much like the now first-class-veteran Ryan ten Doeschate – unless they move to the UK on a permanent basis.



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